* FTSE 100 slips 0.3 pct, set for largest weekly loss since
* Tullow, Smiths lead fallers after disappointing updates
* EU vote uncertainty cap shares across Europe
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, May 23 Britain's top equity index
slipped on Friday towards its biggest weekly loss in over a
month, led by selloffs in oil group Tullow and engineer Smiths
Group after disappointing updates.
Appetite for European shares has been sapped by uncertainty
over the outcome of EU parliamentary elections, in which strong
performances by eurosceptic parties could undermine governments'
efforts to move towards greater integration.
Shares in Tullow fell 1.5 percent as the oil explorer said
one of its wells in Ethiopia hit water.
The stock has lost more than a third of its
value since 2013 following a string of disappointing exploration
"It's another disappointing result in East Africa for Tullow
and the market, in our view, already prices in success above the
existing discoveries in this region," Brian Gallagher, an
analyst at Investec, said.
"This mean that Tullow needs to start finding the mark soon
or the upside assumption could soon be challenged."
Smiths Group warned that full-year profit in its
detection unit would be 25 million pounds ($42 million) lower
due working capital adjustments, lower volumes and additional
costs. Its stock fell 1.1 percent.
Societe Generale cut its target price on Smiths Group
following the announcement and said solving "operational
shortcomings" at the detection unit would likely take time.
Volume in Smiths Group's shares was 55 percent of its
average for the past three months, compared to FTSE volume of
less than 20 percent, with many traders away ahead of a long
weekend in Britain and the United States.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent at 6,801.27 points
at 1021 GMT, setting it on track for a 0.8 percent fall on the
week, the steepest since April 10.
Shares in Italy and Greece likely to come under fire in the
coming days if eurosceptic parties gain ground in the European
"The effect on the UK markets is to exacerbate the
traditional risk-off into a long weekend, especially when the
U.S. is also off," Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo
The market shrugged off early indications that Britain's
anti-EU UKIP party had made widely anticipated gains in local
"UKIP may win the European parliament elections by tapping
into anti-EU, anti-immigration sentiment," analysts at Berenberg
wrote in a note.
"But that is a protest vote. European election voter turnout
is low, the parliament is of limited relevance, and governments
often get a kicking in mid-term elections."
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by John